Canadian Football League

Friday, March 25, 2005

Canadian Football League Team to use Field Turf.

The B.C. Lions will become the third CFL team to play on FieldTurf this season, a move players say will reduce injuries but will also increase game ticket prices by $1.
B.C. Place Stadium will pay $1 million to buy the artificial turf used by the Montreal Expos in their final Major League Baseball season at Olympic Stadium and install it in the home of the Lions. Lions defensive back Mark Washington welcomed Wednesday's announcement.
"The old stuff was pretty hard," said Washington.
"I'm very happy to have the new FieldTurf. I think it's going to benefit our team tremendously. Just being able to recover faster, being able to maybe add another year to our career."
Howard Crosley, general manager of B.C. Place Stadium, said the new turf can also be used by minor football, soccer, rugby and lacrosse teams.
B.C. Place will also be the site of this year's Grey Cup game.
Besides the Lions, B.C. Place Stadium is used for over 200 event days - including trade shows - and generates in excess of $31 million a year in revenue, Crosley said.
To help pay for the turf, Lions tickets will increase by $1, Crosley said.
The same facility charge will be added for other events like concerts and motocross races, but not trade shows.
"Spectators attending events always pay for the use of the facility one way or the other by buying tickets," Crosley said.
"It's part of the ongoing upkeep of the stadium."
It hasn't been decided if the stadium fee will be applied to next year's season tickets.
"Those are discussions we have to have with the Lions," Crosley said.
The Montreal Alouettes and Ottawa Renegades currently use FieldTurf.
Joe Galat, FieldTurf's vice-president of international sales, said talks are underway about installing the turf in Toronto, Calgary and Regina.
Galat described FieldTurf as "shag carpet filled with sand and rubber."
"It has the same properties as grass," said the former CFL coach and general manager.
"You just don't have to mow it or water it."
Roughly two-thirds of the NFL's 32 teams currently use the turf at their stadium or practice facility.
Crosley said the new turf will be ready for the Lions June 16 pre-season game against Calgary.
The removable turf comes in approximately 1,000 trays that measure six feet by 12 feet. When not in use, the trays can be stacked and stored.
Crosley estimated it will take between 12 and 16 hours to remove or lay the turf. The old B.C. Place turf required between eight and 10 hours to install.
FieldTurf has been approved by FIFA, soccer's international governing body, raising hopes B.C. Place can attract international teams for exhibition matches.
"Some of the most renewed clubs in Europe still won't play on it but that will change over time, I am confident of that," Crosley said.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Former Canadian Football League Player sets sights on coaching.

Rickey Foggie admits to having pangs of withdrawal.
For the first time since 1988, when he led the B.C. Lions to the Grey Cup game in the Canadian Football League as a rookie, Foggie isn't preparing to play football.
The 38-year-old former University of Minnesota standout, and a star in the CFL and Arena Football League, is about to begin his coaching career as the offensive coordinator of the Amarillo Dusters.
Foggie hopes to impart some of the things he learned as a player to Dusters quarterback Julian Reese as the team prepares for its Arena2 opener at 7 p.m. on April 1 against the Tulsa Talons.
''Mentally I think I still could have played longer,'' said Foggie. ''I knew my playing career was winding down. More than anything my body knew it. It was getting more difficult just to get out of bed after games.
''I probably could have continued but after 17 years I pretty much knew that it was enough.''
Foggie, who has a mortgage brokers license and lives in Minnesota, had a desire to become a coach.
''Last year at Carolina (in the Arena Football League) I was both a player and offensive coordinator,'' he said. ''I got a taste of what coaching is like and knew that I'd like to continue. I love the game and want to try and help players like I was helped during my career.''
Foggie's credentials as a player are impressive.
At Minnesota, under head coach Lou Holtz, he ranked second all-time in total yards.
Playing for five different CFL teams he threw for more than 14,000 yards and 91 touchdowns in addition to rushing for more than 2,500 yards.
After losing the Grey Cup game as a rookie at British Columbia as a rookie, he went on to win Grey Cups with Toronto in 1991 and Edmonton in 1993.
During his AFL career, in which he played for Minnesota, New Jersey, Florida, Detroit, Toronto and Carolina, Foggie threw for 18,636 yards and 332 TDs, while suffering 82 interceptions. He never was part of a league championship although he did get to the semifinals with New Jersey in 1998.
Asked what his biggest challenge with the Dusters might be, he said:
''Not being able to play. My role now is as a coach and not a player. It's difficult and different. I want to do the best job I can to teach the system of the arena game to our players.''
There are basically two styles of offense in the arena game - Pig or Poco - Foggie said.
In Pig, receivers run a particular route and don't deviate from it. The quarterback knows the routes and delivers the ball to that spot. In Poco, receivers can break off their initial route. In other words, if a post pattern is called the receiver can break if off and run to the corner.
''I would say I'm a Poco man,'' Foggie said. ''I like it where the receivers have an option to break off the route in order to get open.''
Foggie arrived in town two weeks ago and has spent much of his time developing the Dusters playbook.
Reese, who led the Dusters to the Intense Football League championship last summer, returns as the team's starting QB. He is expected to again be backed up by Steve Panella, who was a standout at St. Mary's University in Canada.
''Julian is a lot like I was as a player,'' Foggie said.
''He has the ability to pull the ball down and run with it. I hope that I will be able to teach him and our other quarterbacks things about the arena game that they don't already know.''
Dusters head coach Don Carthel is excited about having Foggie on board.
''Rickey knows the indoor game,'' Carthel said.
''He was successful on the field. I know he will be able to teach our guys the nuances of arena football. He will fit in with our vision for success in Amarillo.''

Former Canadian Football League All-Star Passes on.

The Edmonton Eskimo Football Club mourns the passing of former all-star defensive lineman David Boone.
The 53 year-old Boone played seven seasons for the Green and Gold (1977-’83) and was a mainstay on a dominating front-four known as Alberta Crude which led the Eskimos to five consecutive Grey Cup championships from 1978 to 1982. Boone was a three-time West Division All-Star (’77, ’79, ’81) and a CFL All-Star in 1981. Prior to joining Edmonton, Boone spent time in BC, Hamilton and Ottawa.
In addition to his accomplishments on the field, Boone was the 1982 recipient of the CFL’s Tom Pate Award given annually in recognition of outstanding sportsmanship, and contributions to a player’s team as well as his community.
“David was a great player on some of the best teams the CFL has seen, and he was an even better person off the field. He will be missed by our organization and we send our deepest sympathies to his family and friends,” said Eskimo CEO Hugh Campbell.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Former Canadian Football League BC Lion Quarterback speaks of past.

On the football field and in the business world, Jerry Tagge knew how to take charge and win."I am good at playing games," the former University of Nebraska and Green Bay Packers quarterback told those attending the Fremont Area Leadership Prayer Breakfast Friday at Midland Lutheran College.But inside, he was lonely, and for years, he hid that loneliness by drinking."I could be in a crowd of people, and I still would be lonely," said the executive vice president of Tagge-Rutherford Financial Group in Omaha.His drinking created dysfunction in his family - Tagge and his wife, Betty, have two sons, Nate and Zac - and he hid his addiction by consuming alcohol while driving to avoid being seen drinking in public.Tagge hit bottom several years ago when he was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
He started attending Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, but he said God had something more in store for him. That something was sharing his story with church groups and organizations. He will be in Seattle, Wash., today to speak to a group of Husker alumni."I usually have something in mind when I get up (before a group)," he said. Then, "God just takes over."Although Tagge was confirmed in the Catholic church and became a Lutheran after his wedding, it wasn't until he started studying the Bible that God entered his life, he said Friday."I was born again in a minute," he said. "The hope for everybody who has issues is Jesus."Tagge's life now has as many winning moments as his football career - if not more.He led the Huskers to national championships in 1970 and 1971 and then was picked in the first round of the National Football League draft by the Packers - a childhood dream for the Wisconsin native.Tagge played with the Packers from 1972 to 1974 and wrapped up his career in the Canadian Football League in 1979.